Hull City hoping for prolonged goodbye as change ready to come this summer

Hull City goalkeeper Ryan Allsop in conversation with Liam Rosenior
Hull City goalkeeper Ryan Allsop in conversation with Liam Rosenior -Credit:Ed Sykes/Getty Images

The realisation that this could be the last pre-match build-up of the season dawned on Liam Rosenior as he prepared his players on Thursday for their must-win final day trip to Plymouth Argyle. City's regular season will come to an end at Home Park on Saturday afternoon and for Rosenior, it could mark the end of a chapter with a squad he's grown to love throughout the course of the nine-month campaign.

Victory for the Tigers gives them a fighting chance of finishing in the top six, but Rosenior needs a favour from Preston at West Brom if their dreams are to become a reality, and North End's display against Leicester on Monday night has hardly raised confidence levels.

If that doesn't happen and the play-offs prove a step too far, City's season will end and the flight back to Humberside Airport after the game will be one filled with disappointment and a fairly significant chunk of regret of what might have been. It will also signal the end of the class of 2023/24. Liam Delap, Fabio Carvalho, Noah Ohio, Tyler Morton and others will return to their parent clubs, and while City may want to do business, nothing at this stage is assured.

READ MORE: Hull City primed for thrilling final day filled with hope, expectation and drama

The summer break will signal another big turnover of players both leaving and coming in and Rosenior will have to start his process again with a new batch of recruits. Speculation will be rife around Jacob Greaves and Jaden Philogene, what will happen to other members of the squad, who will come in? So many questions and at this stage, no answers.

That's why Rosenior is desperate to see his squad remain together for at least two more games, and possibly a third if they can get through a play-off semi-final and visit Wembley.

"Same as the other 45, you need a consistent process. You need to believe in and trust in the way that you work and then you hope that all of those things that add up, add up to a really positive performance first and a result afterwards," Rosenior told Hull Live as he previewed the Plymouth trek.

"That's the beauty of life, it's not just football. You never know what's around the corner. If you'd have said to me 18 months ago that I was going to end up being manager of this football club, I wouldn't have believed you, and here I am.

"Now we're on the verge of still with the possibility of doing something special in my first full year here as a manager, that's a great accomplishment from everyone. For the work Acun and Tan have done to transform the club, I hope I have played my small part in that as well."

Recounting his own experience of missing out on the play-offs on the final day, Rosenior says time has and will always be against everybody, and hopes his players again grasp their chance.

"The players, they are just a joy to work with. It's hard isn't it because you don't know if it's going to be your last Thursday. We work certain days, Thursday was always a certain day in training, Friday is a certain day, and I was looking out today and I was just praying 'Please don't be our last Thursday' because I enjoy the company of this group so much. That has to be the motivation for us, is to stick together for as long as possible and play every game like it's not going to be our last and we have to do that on Saturday.

"The lads will tell you that from July, when we came back in for pre-season, I said, there's the only thing that's your enemy is time. You don't realise it until you get older and wiser and more experienced as I'm getting now. It's been nine months, I think I've aged nine years in that nine months; when you speak to 20-year-olds or 21-year-olds or 22-year-olds, I remember it wasn't that long ago when I was that age.

"You don't realise the importance of time and maximising moments, and all of my regrets in my career came from me not recognising time and not taking things in and not, maybe not doing that extra one per cent that can get you to where you want to be. I've missed out on promotion by a goal. One goal. I was at Brighton, we missed out when we played Middlesbrough in the last game of the season, we missed out on goal difference by one goal.

"You've got to educate your players in a way that they learn, but the only way you learn in life is to do. It was amazing to hear Jacob Greaves speak after he won his award, he said something really, really interesting to me as his coach, he said, 'now I understand'. Now I understand how important it is for every moment and every detail and what we do and how important your points total is at the end. The only way that he can learn that as a 22, 23-year-old old is to live it, is to live the pain of losing a game, conceding from a set play or switching off from a throw.

"I'm not talking about Greavesy, I'm talking about a whole team. You have to learn from your experiences, you have to learn from the mistakes that you've made, and I have to say, since we came back from the bonding trip to Antalya, the performances that the players are consistently put in, have gone to another level."

"I'm so proud of it. I'm so proud of the work that we've done because it is a process and you have to have those learning experiences for you to improve and get better. The consistency now of the group, and not just in terms of how we possess the ball or how we create and score goals, the spirit and camaraderie and togetherness that we've wanted to create is there. I just want to see us go and show that again on Saturday and what will be will be from there."

Rosenior will be acutely aware of what's going on at The Hawthorns, not least because 1,700 away supporters will be letting him know from the terraces, but he says the only focus can be on winning the game and whatever happens after that will happen, and he's certainly not allowing himself to get carried away about what could happen, should the dream scenario play out.

"The first thing we have to do is focus on winning the game. I've been in situations where maybe a draw, maybe a win, maybe if you lose by two," he said. "For us, we have to win so it doesn't change anything. The other thing I'm learning really, really quickly as a manager, there are certain things you can control and there are other things that you just have to let go.

"That's hard for me because I'm an absolute control freak, the lads will tell you. I just need to focus on giving the players the best training today, the best meetings, the best session tomorrow, the best transport, the best environment and then it's up to them to go and perform.

"I don't think in that way. If I think in that way, I think I'd go crazy. If I think about how am I going to feel if we don't make it, how am I going to feel if we make it, I can't think in that way.

"All I can think in is the now. All I can focus on is doing my job to the best of my ability, making sure that I study, making sure I speak to the staff, and making sure that we deliver really, really good sessions to the players on an individual and collective level, that's what the job is. I don't think about the future, I think about what I can do now to affect the future in a positive way."